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Tune’s new platform tackles mobile ad fraud

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Ad fraud, especially on mobile, is a huge problem. In fact, according to Forrester Research, ad fraud will reach the heady heights of $10.9 billion in wasted spend by 2021.

Recently, mobile marketing company Tune analyzed 24 billion clicks to illustrate just how rampant mobile ad fraud is. The research showed that eight networks are 100 percent fraudulent, and only 23 of the 700 networks included in the study showed a clean bill of health.

Today — at its annual Postback conference in Seattle — Tune has announced the release of its Fraud Prevention Solution, a transparent platform that connects marketers and ad partners through shared data and insights. The launch is backed by marketers from Twitter and OpenTable, along with ad partners such as InMobi and Fyber.

Taking on ad fraud in this way is not without its challenges.

“The biggest issue is that ad fraud has been a hostile conversation up to this point,” Peter Hamilton, CEO at Tune, told VentureBeat. “We’re trying to change the conversation so that marketers and partners see everything, openly and transparently, and decide what to do about the problem early. What’s been lacking is how we look at the data, share it, and decide how to act upon it.”

Tune’s intention is to bring the industry together to solve this problem once and for all, something that is needed under the current circumstances.

“Everyone wants the brand dollars to come in,” Hamilton said. “We have to, together, provide a high-quality solution. We can’t be an untrustworthy industry: We simply have to clean it up.”

Tune’s Fraud Prevention Solution platform lets marketers and partners access a set of tools that allow for full oversight, making it possible for both parties to analyze app install traffic for potential fraud. It measures the time between click and install, looks for suspicious traffic patterns, and opens up activity at a sub-publisher and sub-campaign level.

And it does this in real time.

“The problem right now is it takes 30 days before issues and challenges are noticed,” Hamilton said. “By then, any suggestion of fraud becomes a caustic conversation between the marketer and partner. Why not provide that information from day one, and start having a conversation then? That’s what our tool is designed for, and why we developed it.”

The ability to create fraud rules lets the marketer set criteria for a successful install. If a result doesn’t fit that predetermined criteria, it doesn’t get attributed. These fraud rules allow the marketer full control over what gets attributed or not and helps “red flag” situations early. Importantly, both sides get to see the rules that have been put in place, so the partner fully understands what it is expected to deliver.

As well as fraud rules, the toolset provides recommendations and reports, helping marketers and partners spot fraudulent activity early. Of course, mobile ad fraud is at its highest when marketers focus on high-volume, cost per install acquisition tactics. The pressure to gain a significant number of app downloads early is often high, but those low-value users come with added risk. Hamilton urges against “vanity metric” strategies and instead suggests focusing on acquiring high-value users.

“The best catch-all for fraud is that all marketing should be judged on performance, not the number of installs just to hit KPIs,” Hamilton said. “So much of adtech and martech is short-lived. Look at the businesses that have survived and thrived, like Amazon, and how they’re focusing on the customer, looking for the truth and playing the long game.”

Tune’s Fraud Prevention Service is available to both Tune Marketing Console and Tune HasOffers customers at no additional cost from today.

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